Outriggers are by far one of the most important tools on the boat when trolling offshore. However, if you don’t set up your outriggers properly, the halyard lines that run up the riggers can get in the way and become a nuisance.
Here are a couple of things we do to streamline our outrigger setups, make them look great and function better.
First we get a local machine shop to drill out a stainless steel bolt and polish it up. This makes a very sharp-looking and weatherproof pass through for the line that holds the lower halyard pulley.
To install the pass through, drill a hole through the covering board that is just large enough to fit the stainless bolt and then use the bolt’s nut to tension it down on the bottom side of the gunwale. I have in recent years, seen some pre-made options online.
Now underneath the gunwale or in a gaff locker, we install a cam cleat with a built-in or separate guide. This cleat makes it much easier to add tension or slack for the rigger halyard when you move it from its upright position to the laid-out position for trolling.
The finished system keeps the halyards nice and neat, out of the way and easier to adjust. Tie a knot in the end or put a stopper of some sort to keep it from slipping out of the guide if you accidentally let go.